Michael J. Petrilli

Visiting Fellow

Mike Petrilli is an award-winning writer and president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, one of the country’s most influential education policy think tanks. He is the author of The Diverse Schools’ Dilemma: A Parent's Guide to Socioeconomically Mixed Public Schools and coeditor of Knowledge at the Core: Don Hirsch, Core Knowledge, and the Future of the Common Core. Petrilli is also a visiting fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and executive editor of Education Next. Petrilli has published opinion pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post Bloomberg View, Slate, and Wall Street Journal and has been a guest on NBC Nightly News,, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, and Fox, as well as several National Public Radio programs, including All Things Considered, On Point, and the Diane Rehm Show. Petrilli helped create the US Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, the Policy Innovators in Education Network, and Young Education Professionals. He lives with his family in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Teachers Divided

by Michael J. Petrillivia National Review Online
Friday, January 11, 2008

Senator Barack Obama sees a post-partisan future for America, but that doesn’t mean all divisions will disappear...

Analysis and Commentary

Why Teachers Like Mike

by Michael J. Petrillivia National Review Online
Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mike Huckabee made news — and history — Tuesday when the New Hampshire affiliate of the National Education Association endorsed him for president in the upcoming primary — the first time it ever recommended a GOP candidate...

Analysis and Commentary

Parties Like It’s 1999

by Michael J. Petrillivia National Review Online
Thursday, November 29, 2007

Senator Barack Obama unveiled his education plan last week, and used the opportunity to promote his presidential campaign theme of bringing people together...

Analysis and Commentary

National testing: It's time

by Michael J. Petrilli with Education Next, Chester E. Finn Jr.via Washington Times
Saturday, October 20, 2007

A decade ago, when President Bill Clinton's "voluntary national test" proposal was crashing on the rocky shores of a Republican-controlled Congress, scholar Chester E. Finn, Jr. quipped that national testing was doomed because conservatives hate "national" and liberals hate "testing..."

Analysis and Commentary

The Suburban Schools Relief Act of 2007

by Michael J. Petrillivia National Review Online
Friday, September 14, 2007

The political strategy of George Miller and Buck McKeon, respectively the chairman and top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, has now come into full relief: to get an NCLB reauthorization bill through Congress by appeasing the suburbs...

Analysis and Commentary

Principal Obama

by Michael J. Petrillivia National Review Online
Friday, August 3, 2007

Two weeks ago I escaped from Washington’s oppressive humidity and headed with my in-laws to New Hampshire’s Lake Sunapee...

Analysis and Commentary

Eradicating White Guilt

by Michael J. Petrillivia National Review Online
Thursday, June 28, 2007

Today’s Supreme Court decision striking down Louisville’s and Seattle’s race-based student assignment plans will surely lead to much gnashing of teeth, recriminations, and accusations of America slipping back to the era of Jim Crow...

Analysis and Commentary

Hooked on Hysterics

by Michael J. Petrillivia National Review Online
Thursday, April 19, 2007

If you enjoy political theater of the absurd, tune in to a House Education and Labor committee hearing Friday on “Mismanagement and Conflicts of Interest in the Reading First Program..."

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A Beautiful Disappointment

by Michael J. Petrillivia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A former true believer in No Child Left Behind is ready to give up on the law—but not on its ideals. By Michael J. Petrilli.

Analysis and Commentary

Conservatism’s Big Test

by Michael J. Petrillivia National Review Online
Wednesday, October 4, 2006

In the past few weeks, conservative luminaries including Bill Bennett, Tommy Thompson, and Rod Paige have publicly endorsed national testing for K-12 education, giving some libertarians a fit. Consider Cato’s Neal McCluskey, for instance, who not only attacked national standards in his recent National Review Online piece but went after the entire education-reform strategy that rests on standards and testing...